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[Witch Way] Volume #6 Issue #9 -- Love, Life & Fertility
February 13, 2014
|Hi, Happy Lupercalia!
If you are reading this the day it comes out, then tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day. At least, that’s what the Catholics call it. For most Protestants, it’s simply Valentine’s Day. This is the day for lovers to publically and privately show their love for one another.
I can remember, as a kid in Elementary school many, MANY years ago, we all made and decorated Valentine boxes. On Valentine’s Day, everyone would put their Valentines cards into everyone else’s boxes. Each of these cards said in effect, “Be My Valentine”. There was no emotion attached to this act, and boys shared with boys, girls shared with girls. Everyone gave everyone else, regardless of gender, a valentine.
Of course, boys being boys, we could care less about the cards, but some of them came with candy. Sweethearts were the currency of the day. Each little heart-shaped candy had tiny phrase etched into its sugary goodness. Be Mine, was probably the most common phrase, but there were others.
This ancient practice (we’re talking more than 40 years now since I was in Elementary School) still goes on in at least some schools today. It’s a tradition that builds camaraderie and self esteem, and it’s completely innocent…or is it? I suppose that in order to determine that, it would be good to know the origins of this holiday.
The holiday gets its current name from a 3rd century Christian, who is said to have been martyred on February 14th, around the year 270 C.E. St. Valentine’s Day was first created by Pope Gelasius I at the end of the 5th century. The interesting thing is, there may have been more than one Christian cleric named Valentine. One was a temple priest who was put to death by Emperor Claudius II, for performing marriages in secret, after the Emperor had outlawed marriage for young men. It seems Claudius thought that single men made better soldiers. The other was said to have been the Bishop of Terni, also killed by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities, it’s thought they may be the same person, but there’s enough confusion over the true identity of St. Valentine, that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969.
There are actually around a dozen men named Valentine, or more precisely Valentinus, which is the Latin word for worthy, strong, or powerful, a powerful statement to make with a name, and so quite popular. There was even a Pope Valentine, though not much is known about him, as he was Pope for only 40 days, around the year 827 C.E.
St. Valentine is not only the Patron Saint engaged couples and happy marriages, but he is also called upon for interventions regarding beekeepers, epilepsy, the plague, fainting, and traveling.
St. Valentine’s Day was not a holiday of love, it was a celebration of Christian faith over Roman rule. It wasn’t until the 1300’s that Valentine’s day was associated with the emotion of love and romance. This all may have been an invention of Geoffrey Chaucer. In a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375, called “Parliament of Foules”, he linked the tradition of courtly love, to the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day. This is an association that hadn’t existed until then. The same poem also refers to February 14th as the day when birds (and men) come together to find a mate. I guess it could be argued that Valentine’s Day really is for the birds.
So that explains (sort of) the whole thing with the Catholic Saint, but what’s with the pudgy little winged baby with the bow? That would be Cupid, and that particular image of Him is relatively new, starting in the Renaissance. Cupid is actually a Roman God, and the son of Venus. The Greeks of course also had Aphrodite, and Her son Eros. Now, what do you get when the most beautiful female of the Gods has a son? You get the most beautiful male of the Gods. Handsome doesn’t begin to describe Eros. Just His physical presence could make both mortals and Gods fall in love with Him. Male or female, it didn’t matter, everyone loved Eros. Eros is the root for the word Erotic. Eros is also the Greek work for Love.
Everyone is familiar with Cupid’s arrows, which cause people to fall in love, but those were the golden arrows. He had another set, which were cast from lead, and caused those who were shot with them, to hate each other. It only makes sense when you think about it. None of the Pagan Gods are absolute, as far as good or evil. It makes perfect sense that the God who causes people to love, would also be capable of making the hate.
It was the Romans who started the whole thing off with the Feast of Lupercalia, on February 13th – 15th. If you read modern accounts of this celebration, it sounds really silly. As an NPR article puts it, under the heading “Those Wild and Crazy Romans”, “The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.” So I guess this means that Roman men were the first to hit on women.
What was really happening, was that naked young Romans came together to celebrate being young, and free. The men would sacrifice a goat and a dog, then skin them. The skinned carcasses were offered to the Gods. Young women would have lined up for the men to ritually hit them with the freshly skinned hides, in order to ensure their fertility. The men and women then drew lots, which paired them up for the duration of the Festival. If a pairing seemed to work well, it might last longer.
Honestly, I’ve seen worse from kids going out to meet girls at the club. I always find it amazing how distasteful these articles make the celebration sound. It’s as if they don’t realize young adults are randomly pairing up all the time at clubs and other hangouts today.
Lupercalia itself, may be pre-Roman in origin, as a pastoral festival to avert “evil” spirits and purify the city by releasing health and fertility. It’s also believed that Lupercalia took over the earlier festival of Februa, which was a Spring cleansing ritual, held on the same date. Februa is also where the month of February gets its name.
So originally, what we see is that Lupercalia was a combination of cleansing and fertility rites. This makes absolute sense when you think about the climate of the Mediterranean at this time of year. It’s cool, but not cold, and the days don’t yet get so hot that they are oppressive. It is exactly what we think of when we talk of Spring. As modern Pagans, we are celebrating the returning light because our traditions come from the British Isles, which are much farther north, and still very cold at this time of year.
It’s because of the mild climate, that the Greeks and the Romans are celebrating fertility in the same basic ways we modern Pagans do a couple of months later, at Beltane. If Britain had a milder climate, our Traditions would be more like the Romans. The reason we wait until Beltane, to pair up, is because it isn’t until then, that it’s warm enough to spend the night “a Maying”.
There is a lot more to the celebration of Lupercalia, and I encourage you to do some research. You may be surprised at what you find. You may also find some old traditions you may want to revive with the help of your partner. Remember to look at what you find through the eyes of a Pagan. Most will be written from a judgmental Christian viewpoint. See the celebrations for what they really were, and you are likely to learn quite a lot.
Plants, Petals, & Potions
by Julie Andaverde
History and Folklore:Roses have been cultivated for over 5,000 years. There are 150 natural named species worldwide and thousands more cultivars. The Chinese were the first to cultivate roses and begin hybridizing them.
In the Iliad, Homer mentions that Hector's body was anointed with rose oil after he was killed by Achilles. The Greek poet Anacreon says that the foam that dripped from the body of aphrodite when she emerged from the sea turned into white roses, later, when she is mourning over the body of her lover adonis, her tears turn a white rose red. Roses are also associated with Eros, another Greek love God, known to the Romans as Cupid, he was the son of Aphroditie/Venus. Sappho called the rose the Queen of the Flowers.
Roses were also important to the Romans. Large public rose gardens were established by the nobility. Both Horace and Pliny wrote advice on the proper growing of roses. They were used for medicine, fragrance and as confetti at celebrations. In Roman mythology, roses are associated with Flora, Bacchus, Vertumnus, Hymen, Venus and Cupid. Roman brides and grooms were crowned with roses and they were scattered at the feet of the victorious.
In Christian folklore, the red rose has symbolized the blood and suffering of Christ, the five petals representing his five wounds. Roses have also been used to represent Mary and the purity and motherhood associated with her.
In Muslim folklore, one of Muhammed's wives was accused of adultery. He gave her a bouquet of red roses and told her to throw them into a pool. They turned yellow, indicating her guilt. Another story says that the first rose came from a drop of sweat from Muhammed's brow.
In Jewish folklore, a man once accused a woman of a crime in retribution for refusing his advances. She was to be burned at the stake. Miraculously, the fire does not kill her, but killed him. From his ashes red roses grow, symbolizing his treachery. From the ashes at her feet grow white roses, symbolizing her innocence.
In England, if a petal falls as a rose is being cut, bad luck is sure to follow!
In Italy, only rosebuds, or partially closed roses may be given as gifts. To give a fully open rose to another marks them for death!
Magical Uses:The Rose is a Goddess herb belonging to Venus and the Water element. Rose is the accepted love flower and is used in many a love spell. Rose buds can be added to bath water to conjure a lover. Place some in a red cloth bag and pin it under your clothes to attract. Rose hips worn as beads attract love. True rose essential oil (known as Otto) and rose absolute are expensive but worth it, one drop has powerful properties. It is not worth it to use synthetics when it comes to rose oils. Rose oil is used in formulas designed to attract love, confer peace, stimulate sexual appetites, and enhance beauty.
A tea of rosebuds drunk before sleep induces prophetic dreams. Rose petals and hips are used in healing spells and mixtures. Rose petals sprinkled around the house calm personal stress and household upheavals. Roses planted in the garden attract fairies and are said to grow best when stolen.
Burn rose as an incense for healing, love, luck, creativity, balance, anointing, divination, clairvoyance, protection, and psychic awareness. Rosewater is a protective agent worn on clothes and the petals can be added to charms against the evil eye. White roses worn at weddings will bring happiness and security to the couple. Additionally, the thorns can be useful in hexes against a past lover or used to mark wax figures.
Traditionally, different colors of rose have different meanings: Red roses are the traditional symbol for love and romance, and a time-honored way to say "I love you." The red rose has long symbolized beauty and perfection. A bouquet of red roses is the perfect way to express your deep feelings for someone special.
As a symbol of grace and elegance, the pink rose is often given as an expression of admiration. Pink roses can also convey appreciation as well as joyfulness. Pink rose bouquets often impart a gentler meaning than their red counterparts.
The bright, sunny color of yellow roses evokes a feeling of warmth and happiness. The warm feelings associated with the yellow rose are often akin to those shared with a true friend. As such, the yellow rose is an ideal symbol for joy and friendship.
White roses represent innocence and purity and are traditionally associated with marriages and new beginnings. The white rose is also a symbol of honor and reverence, and white rose arrangements are often used as an expression of remembrance.
With their blazing energy, orange roses are the embodiment of desire and enthusiasm. Orange roses often symbolize passion and excitement and are an expression of fervent romance. A bouquet of orange roses will send a meaningful message.
The unique beauty of the lavender rose has captured many hearts and imaginations. With their fantastical appearance, lavender roses are a perfect symbol of enchantment. The lavender rose is also traditionally used to express feelings of love at first sight.
Medicinal uses:The Rose has aromatic, cosmetic, medicinal, culinary, and craft uses. Fresh petals and rosewater flavor sweet and savory dishes and are crystallized for decoration. Rosewater revives tired skin and eyes. Dog Rose (Rosa canina) is the major source of hips for jam, syrup, tea and wine. Associated with pure love and femininity, it is valued by aromatherapists for its rejuvenating qualities.
Rose petal syrup can be made by adding twice the petals' weight of sugar and infusing in hot water. Alternatively, the fresh petals can be ground with a little boiling water and strained, and the liquid combined with honey. The resulting liquid is a natural laxative and a tonic for the stomach. The rose hips should be gathered after the first frost. They will be read and ready for drying or making into jam. The jam or jelly is used or coughs. The dried hips are opened, the seeds and hairs removed, and the skins used for an excellent sore throat tea; use two teaspoons per cup of water and simmer for ten minutes. An infusion of the petals, one ounce to one pint of water, makes a soothing eye lotion; strain it first through cheesecloth.
Effects:This herb has been known to increase libido, desire, and has an energizing effect when ingested. The scent of rose is incredibly intoxicating and can cause a shift in consciousness when meditated upon.
Contraindications: There are no reports of contraindications or side effects when used properly.
Love is in the air this time of year! If you are lucky in love and have a partner by your side, use this herb to enhance your relationship and deepen your connection. If you’re still looking for that special person to make you whole, use the rose to conjure a lover or utilize its magical properties to enhance self-love!
Love, light, and blessings!
DISCLAIMER: It should be understood that Julie Andaverde is not a medical doctor, nor is Witch Way a medical journal. Some of the herbs and ingredients discussed in this column can be dangerous or even deadly if misused. Proportions and ratios discussed are based on personal observation and experience. Use of any herbs or ingredients is at your own discretion and risk. None of the information contained herein should be construed as medical advice. Always consult a trained medical professional.
The Witching Hour
by Marcus Leader
Now I lay me down to sleep
Our father who art in heaven
Lord protect us from all of Satan’s EVIL temptations...
Gitchy Manitou, Creator of all the universe, I give thanks for the gift of life and to the beautiful Earth Mother for sustaining that life and the lives of all my brothers and sisters......
God, if you get me out of this I promise on my soul that I will give up sex, drugs and rock and roll........ Well on second thought I would like to keep the rock and roll if that would be ok with you. just please save my butt.
Yes indeed....PRAYER....one of the most common and misunderstood acts of the human race!
Prayers of all types are repeated by billions of people every single day and yet research indicates that more than 90 percent of these people DO NOT KNOW HOW TO PRAY nor do they understand the mechanics of prayer! MORE THAN 90%! For something that has been done by humankind so often for thousands of years, you would think that we would have it down pat by now.
Repetitive prayers like the children’s prayer or the proverbial saying of grace at the dinner table lose their meaning with each repetition until it becomes nothing more than a mindless act of recital to sooth our minds and conscious. The concept of what these prayers are for is totally lost and meaningless to most people. I know the first time I was forced to say the children’s night time prayer, now I lay me down to sleep. I became horrified when I got the part about dying before I wake, with nightly reminders to reinforce my fear. It took me a long time to be able to go to sleep without fear of dieing.
Then you have your bible-thumping messenger’s of the Lord that speak more of sin and the EVIL Satan than they do of God and love.
Oh and then there’s my favorite misdirection of all the LETS MAKE A DEAL prayer where God is invited to COME ON DOWN and save your rear end in exchange for you finally taking responsibility for your own actions....
All these are nothing more than meaningless mindless recitals of misdirected intention, driven by desperation, ignorance, and laziness!
In many Native American and pagan prayers, we finally see an organized structure that has not fallen prey to the whitewash of mindless repetition. However, this structure, in many cases, is still lacking the punch needed to reach the target Entity, be it God, Goddess, Creator, or even spirit guide.
In all honesty, the closest methods to proper prayer technique, is found in the Buddhist and pagan religions.
You see, you can have the most devoted, sincere, and poetically structured prayer in the world, but unless you know how to deliver it to the target, how to make it ride on the carrier waves of the universe, then all you have, is a well structured group of words that fall upon deaf ears....
It’s sad to think that most people pray their hearts out, assuming they are heard loud and clear, and that the Almighty will listen to every spoken word, whisper, or thought, including the mindless repetition and nonsensical thoughts that we randomly generate. The fact is that like everything else in our lives, we must put out the proper effort to acquire the desired results, which is a good thing, for it teachers us not to be lazy and not to rely on others and to take responsibility for our own lives!
So WHAT then is the secret to proper prayer? How do you get the attention and communicate with Deity?
WITH IMPECCABLE INTENTION!
It matters not what religion you follow, or how many times you repeat your prayers. If you want to get the attention of your Deity, you have to speak in the universal language of visualization. Then send it off with the punch of pure intention, from the very core of your being, and equally important you MUST know where to direct your prayer. When you recite your words of prayer, don’t rely on the words alone. See what you want to happen. See your request bestowed upon you, or see the image in your mind of your great Deity being honored and filled with your love.
Next, you must raise your energy levels and believe with all your heart that your message will be heard. Feel the emotion rising within, build it to a peak, and with all the willpower you can generate, blast your thoughts and images mixed with impeccable desire, and intent toward your target. This target being your Deity, but where is this Deity? What direction do you send your power prayer? If you send it to the heavens or even worse in all directions, then you just squandered your efforts! This may surprise a lot of you, but you must send your prayers within.. Deity is everywhere, it is not in a centralized location in the clouds or even on another plane of existence...it is all around you and at its strongest, within you. REACH NOT OUT TO DEITY, BUT WITHIN....
Praying this way takes effort and practice but almost guarantees your voice among the Gods.
Intention is an awesome force and literally shapes the reality of our universe. I was taught a very powerful lesson regarding intention on one of my many field trips with my own shamanic teacher. He took me on an excursion one week, several miles south of the boarder from Nogales Arizona. I am not sure exactly where we were because we had been driving for many hours at night so I could see no landmarks.
The car came to a stop, and I stepped out to see a most beautiful star- filled sky, with the Milky Way flowing right through Sagittarius, my astrological birth sign. The heavenly sight transfixed me, especially since astronomy was my first love since the age of 10. Then my fascination was interrupted by the smell of a campfire. Carlos and I looked to the east, saw a faint glow over the next hill, and proceeded to hike in that direction through the chaparral. I did not know why we were there, or what adventure lay in store for me this time, so I proceeded with a little trepidation fueled by excitement.
The image on the other side of the hill was very surreal, and carried an air of timelessness about it with the feel of past, present, and future all rolled into one. Sitting cross-legged around a rolled out blanket were 5 shaman, two of which were Yaqui Indians and one Pima. The other two I believe were Mexican. Behind them was burning four small fires and I could tell from the stars that they were situated North, East , South and West of the shamans circle and about 10 feet behind them.
Carlos joined them in the circle, and told me to sit directly six feet behind him, and to be silent as I was just a witness to what was about to take place. As I sat down where I was instructed, I notice that wrapped in the blanket in the center of their circle was a small girl about four or five years old. Although she was in shadows, I got the impression that she was a very sick little girl. I asked Carlos to explain and he confirmed that the little girl was close to death and that the shaman had been summoned by her parents to heal her. Then he held a finger to his lips giving me the signal to be silent.
One of the Yaqui shaman raised his hands over the little girl and chanted something. He looked as old as dirt but moved with the agility of a cat. He stood and circled the girl 3 times and then suddenly stopped and said something to the others which caused them all to stand and gather their items and turning to leave. I asked my teacher what was going on and he said that the old shaman who was leading the healing was told in a vision that the girl was meant to die, that it had been arranged by her own soul before she was born.
I jumped to my feet in disbelief and ran over to the little girl whose eyes were half open and seemingly pleading for help. I felt so helpless at that moment. I did not yet have the ability to heal anyone and I could not force them to do it.... Or could I? All I know is that I had to do something. How many of you could look into the eyes of a dying child and not try to help her.
My only thought was to find a way to make the shaman come back and proceed with the healing, but how could I do that? I called out to them pleading for them to help her and they just shook their heads sadly and turned to walk away. It was then that I felt something inside my abdomen stirring. I thought at first I was going to be sick, but then it changed and felt like a rocket taking off and filling me with a surge of power. I yelled out to the departing shaman in a voice that shock myself and seemed to echo through the small canyon.
They all stop dead in the tracks without turning around. I yelled out to them (which is unusual for me) that they must heal this little girl, and that the agreement with her soul and whoever had been made a long time ago, and was clearly being altered now by the fact that she had enough personal power to bring all of them here, somewhere in the middle of the desert, on this fateful night. I felt my words leaving my body from my mouth but the power, the driving intent seemed to come from my stomach just above my navel.
Whatever I had said or done seemed to change the mind of the shaman and they returned to form the circle and started chanting and making hand gestures. This went on for at least 2 hours. During that time, I must have black out or fell asleep because the next thing I remembered was lying on the ground waking up with the sun in my eyes. I could not see very well but I heard a strange sound, it was the sound of a little girl laughing and playing with her parents. I blocked the sun and it was true, the same little girl that had been dancing with death hours before, was now laughing and running!
Then my teacher nudged me in the ribs with his foot and said “Marcos are you going sleep all day?” The shamans were nowhere in sight and the little girl and parents were getting into and old Chevy pickup to go home. We also left and on the way home Carlos explained to me that although I had no ability to heal the girl I had brought about her healing through the persuasive powers of my intent, which had been driven by emotion and shear determination. The shamans were so taken by the force of intent that they took it as an omen to override the original agreement. To my knowledge little Rosalita is still alive and well today.
It is this kind of intention and determination that we must summon up when we want a loud and clear voice with the God or Goddess or any entity which we are trying to communicate with.
Remember the 3 key features to the power of prayer:
Blessed Be, Marcus
By Gwynalda Shadowalker
Magickal Heart Stones
Wondering what to give your Witchly honey for Valentine’s Day this year? Oh, come on, now, those roses—while lovely and sweet-scented—will soon wither and fade away; and chocolates, well, many would rather avoid such sugary, fattening temptations. So, how about gifting your sweetheart with something beautiful that will last, but that won’t break the bank?
Carnelian—Red is the color most often associated with Passionate Love, which the Greeks called Eros. The reddish quartz chalcedony, Carnelian, most definitely vibrates to Eros’ frequency. Sometimes called “cornelian” or “sard,” it was one of the first stones to be used by ancient folk as a decoration in jewelry and small ornaments. Its name means “flesh-colored,” from “caro” (genitive) and “carnis” (flesh). (Hey, ALL acts of Love and Pleasure are Her rituals, right?)
The ancient Egyptians valued Carnelian as a gem, and used it to create small sculptures and arrowheads. Architects used the stone to indicate their rank and accomplishments. Carnelian was believed to protect its wearer from weapons and evil spirits, and to dispel fear and melancholy while inspiring courage and harmony. (What better way to help get your Lover [or yourself for that matter] into the right… mood?)
Agrippa placed the “corneola” stone under the rulership of Venus (Roman Goddess of Love) and the Zodiac sign of Taurus. He also states that engraving the sigil for Mars on this stone “stops blood and the mestues.” Cunningham attributes Carnelian to the element of fire, and suggests using it as an amulet to ward off “telepathic invasion.” Pliny the Elder recommended using Carnelian in signet rings because the sealing wax would not stick to its engraved surface.
In a chakra healing crystal layout, Catherine Bowman recommends placing a Carnelian over the spleen. She notes that reddish-orange-colored stones such as Carnelian can reduce overactive appetites, remove blockages from the reproductive organs, and stimulate creativity. She also claims that carnelian “is noted for its energies to remove sexual fears.” (!!!)
Katrina Russell advocates using Carnelian to ground energy, improve concentration and focus, and manifest desired results. She claims that Carnelian facilitates scrying into the remote past, but only after “advanced training.”
Melody advises using Carnelian to cleanse other stones because it can transform negativity. She notes that this stone can also assist in theatrical pursuits. As an amulet that protects against unwanted spirits and negative energy, a combination of Carnelian, chlorite, and ruby crystals can be carried or placed in and around the home.
Rose Quartz — Pink corresponds to the heart chakra in a triply-beneficial way. Both the color and the stone encourage what the ancient Greeks defined as: 1) Agape (Universal Love); 2) Pragma (Enduring Love); and 3) Philautia (healthy Self-Love). (Wow, talk about covering all of your bases!)
The lovely Rose Quartz is a form of granular coarse crystalline quartz that has a translucent or milky pink color caused by traces of manganese or titanium. It loses its color when heated and turns black when exposed to radiation. It’s found mainly in California and Maine in the U.S., as well as in Brazil.
Magickally, Rose Quartz promotes love in all aspects—whether platonic, romantic, familial, self, or divine—and assists us in opening our hearts to attract more love into our lives. It fosters tolerance and forgiveness, while teaching us to be kind, gentle, and peaceful. Rose Quartz also helps to sooth negative emotions and heal from traumatic memories.
In healing, Rose Quartz is commonly associated with the fifth (heart) chakra, or Anahata.
As far as correspondences go, Rose Quartz is most often associated with Venus (again, the Roman Goddess of Love). It’s the primary stone to use in talismans for attracting a soulmate (so long as it’s not focused on a specific person).
Rose Quartz is a wonderful stone to use when healing from a broken heart. However, you’ll need to cleanse it OFTEN, using either salt, citrine, water, sun/moonlight, or a combination of all the above. For more information about using Citrine Quartz for cleansing your Carnelian and Rose Quartz heart stones, please check out last year’s February edition of . Blessed Be—Gwynalda )O(
Sources: “The Ancient Greeks’ 6 Words for Love (And Why Knowing Them Can Change Your Life)” by Roman Krznaric.
Trending Toward The Positive
By Evylyn Rose
The Pentacle as a Symbol for Earth: An Argument to Keep It That Way
For those who don’t know, I am a Christopher Penczak fan-girl. I’m one of those Witches who picks up any of his books and wishes they came out even just a couple years earlier so those would have been the ones to get me started on this path. His writing is very detailed, offering logical and valid explanations that many books designed toward beginners – and even intermediates – fail to deliver. That said, we cannot always agree with everyone we love or admire.
One of Penczak’s arguments that struck a chord worth sharing involved his view of the Pentacle as a symbol for the Element of Earth. In his book The Outer Temple of Witchcraft, he reasonably argues his stance that the Pentacle is not necessarily a symbol for Earth. After all, the Pentacle is a symbol representing the accumulation of all the Elements. How, then, can we limit this symbol to only one Element? A stone or some soil would be much better symbols for Earth. Although I agree with this sentiment, my experiences and observations lead me away from thinking that the pentacle is a symbol of Spirit.
The Earth is Our PentacleTo be fair, throughout his discussions of the pentacle or peyton as a ritual tool, he does offer explanations as to why this symbol is representative of Earth in some traditions – another reason to adore his writing. Among them, he explains how Elemental associations of our blood, breath, and so forth ultimately are parts of our body and therefore are of the Earth. These explanations are where my thoughts on the matter come in.
For starters, if the planet Earth is in itself the ultimate symbol and embodiment of the Earth Element, then we can instantly see how the pentacle as a ritual tool is the perfect Earth symbol. Consider for a moment everything that living on the Earth entails; we experience all of the Elements here.
We experience Air through the wind; the air we breathe; the thoughts we manifest; the conversations we have with others; the inspiration that drives our creativity. We experience Fire through actual fires and flames; our passions; our drives; blazing heat. We experience Water through oceans, lakes, and creeks; emotions; dreams. We experience Earth by the planet we live on; the stones, grass, and soil beneath our feet; towering mountains; the shelter we find and maintain; the foods we eat. Even the Element of Spirit is experienced here; every spiritual experience, divine relationship, moment of enlightenment, it all occurs as we live our lives here on planet Earth.
We experience all of the Elements on Earth in a seemingly perfect blend. Isn’t that what the pentacle represents? We are quick to think of Spirit as the Element that pulls them together, but perhaps the truth is that Earth is the key Element. Without it, we would not have a means to experience all these Elements as humans.
Even in Magick, Earth is KeyA common practice in Witchcraft traditions today is to use the pentacle during spells and rituals. We place objects upon the pentacle to assist with cleansing them, charging them, or even simply to maintain our focus. We use various drawn pentagrams and pentacles for a multitude of magickal purposes as well. Why? Why the pentacle and not another tool? Why pentagrams and not another symbol?
Pentacles and pentagrams are a foundation. They provide walls – even just of the spiritual or energetic variety – acting as shields, gateways, bandages, sources of energy, and so forth. When we use these symbols for magick, they provide a level of control by keeping the energy grounded and/or focused before it is released. On the energetic level, these are the symbols that help us in altering energy to make changes manifest in the material world. Are these not also aspects of the Earth Element? This grounding, centered, focused, matter-oriented aspect that pentacles can provide is what makes the pentacle ritual tool vital as an Earth representative.
This view that the pentacle is more appropriate as a symbol of Spirit comes from a lack of investigation into possible reasons why we attribute the symbol and tool to Earth. As usual, such views are never wrong if they work. However, we should always be open to adapting our thoughts and letting our perspectives shift to better understand our relationship with the Elements and the tools and symbols we use. Ask questions and find the answers for yourself. Should the pentacle be a symbol of Spirit because it represents all of the Elements and you read somewhere that Spirit is the accumulation of the Elements? When you meditate or work with Spirit, does it feel like all of the Elements combined or a separate Element completely? I know I’ve found my answers over the years; now go find yours.
Recipes for This Month's Herb
Rose Hip TeaPour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 heaping teaspoons of chopped rose hips. You can use rose hips with or without their seeds. Steep the herbal tea, covered, for 15 minutes and strain.
Rose Honey1 and 3/4 cups cleaned rose hips
2 and 1/2 cups water
Cook rose hips in the water about 15 minutes and occasionally crush them. When they are tender, pour into jelly bag and strain off juice. This quantity yields about 7/8 cup of juice to which add enough water to make a cupful then add one tsp. lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar and cook rapidly until juice jellies on a silver spoon. This will thin to a honey consistency when cold. It is delicious served on waffles, pancakes, over desserts or in cakes and frostings.
If you have an article you'd like to submit as a guest author for Witch Way, or for CyberWitchcraft, go to the Contact Page and click Submissions in the drop down box. Let me know what the article is about, and I will reply back to you so that you can attach it in an email.
Articles for Witch Way should be at least 500 words, and those for CyberWitchcraft should be around 2000 words.
If you have any comments or suggestions, you can go to the Contact Page on CyberWitchcraft, or simply reply to this email. This newsletter and the website are created for you, your thoughts and ideas are important to us.
Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,
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